- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2022

An internal campaign poll for Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin shows him moving slightly ahead of Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in the race for governor.

The poll found Mr. Zeldin has taken a narrow lead, 45.5% to 44%, over Mrs. Hochul.

The Long Island Republican credited his showing in the poll to “hard work, the right message, strategy and execution, and also taking absolutely nothing for granted.”

“As we continue to get our message out coming off of this month’s Republican and Conservative Party conventions and after airing television and radio ads statewide since the beginning of February, it’s never been more clear that we have the issues on our side, we have the momentum of our side, and there’s a big red wave headed straight for New York in 2022,” Mr. Zeldin said in a statement.

Before he squares off against the incumbent governor, however, Mr. Zeldin must win the GOP primary race against Andrew Giuliani, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson.

The poll of 800 likely general election voters was conducted by Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates, who has served as Mr. Zeldin’s pollster in previous campaigns. Of the voters surveyed, 48.4% were registered Democrats, 27% were registered Republicans, and 23% were independent or had no party affiliation.

Previous polls have shown Mr. Zeldin far behind Mrs. Hochul in a head-to-head matchup, including a Zogby poll from last month showing Mr. Zeldin 17 percentage points behind the governor.

The Zeldin campaign says those polls oversampled residents who live in New York City and are more likely to vote for Democrats, and did not take into consideration GOP turnout this cycle compared to other Republican wave years.

Additionally, unlike other surveys, which have been undersampling Republican Party voters, this poll projects a Republican Party turnout of 27.2%, a conservative estimate. Based on 2010 and 2014 turnout numbers and other factors, the Zeldin campaign predicted the Republican turnout will be over 30% this year.

Mr. Zeldin, a four-term member of Congress who previously served as a state lawmaker in Albany, is campaigning on a law-and-order platform. He is attacking Mrs. Hochul over the rising crime in the state and is criticizing her for not urging the state legislature to repeal the cash bail reform law and other criminal justice legislation. 

Last week, Mr. Zeldin’s campaign dropped its first TV campaign ad covering the crime issue. The Washington Times reached out to the Hochul campaign but did not immediately hear back.

The accuracy of the overall sample of 800 likely general election voters is within +/- 3.4%, at a 95% confidence interval.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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